Sunderland have recent history on their side as they face Newcastle

Sunderland Gates

Dick Advocaat has an uphill task to keep Sunderland in the Premier League, and must pick up his first points against arch rivals Newcastle on Sunday.

Sunderland must continue their recent dominance of the Tyne-Wear derby to steer clear of the relegation zone this weekend.

The Black Cats are being rapidly caught by Burnley, who surprisingly beat promotion chasing Manchester City last month.

Sunderland have failed to win a league game since defeating the Clarets back in late January, a run which adds up to a total of seven league games. It is a run which has seen the club sack manager Gus Poyet, hire Advocaat and get sucked into another relegation battle.

Advocaat has been handed the task of keeping Sunderland in the Premier League without a transfer window to negotiate, so must use the current squad - which appears to lack significant options all over the pitch.

At least Advocaat has history on his side. His immediate predecessors, Paolo Di Canio and Poyet have an incredible record against Newcastle United. Sunderland have won the last four meetings between the sides, and are unbeaten in six league meetings, having not lost the derby since August 2011.

Some might say that Newcastle are due a victory, but to have such significant success in recent meetings means Sunderland surely have the mental edge going into this encounter.

Although they are missing the Newcastle's tormenter-in-chief, Adam Johnson, who has scored in three of the last four meetings between the sides, Sunderland will feel confident in this fixture.

The pressure, however, will be on Sunderland, with Newcastle all but guaranteed to be in the Premier League next season and sitting 9 points above their rivals in the league table.

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